Dr. Robert Furgason



Contact Information:

Harte Research Institute
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
6300 Ocean Drive, Unit 5869
Corpus Christi, Texas 78412-5869
Telephone: (361) 825-2000
Fax: (361) 825-2050
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Dr. Robert R. "Bob" Furgason became the first Executive Director of the Harte Research Institute in January 2005. He stepped down from his post March 31, 2008, giving the university ample time to choose his successor. Dr. Larry D. McKinney, former director of Coastal Fisheries and senior director of Aquatic Resources for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), took Furgason's place as HRI's new executive director in July 2008.

While at the HRI, Furgason oversaw the development of the new Institute, from the earliest planning stages through the construction of the state-of-the-art facility. He also played a key role in bringing the endowed chairs and other personnel onboard. Edward Harte encouraged the administration to appoint Dr. Furgason for this role of developing the HRI, because his experience as President of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) made him the perfect candidate. Not only did he have a thorough understanding of the university where the Institute was to be located, but he knew how to make something grow: During Furgason's 14-year tenure as TAMU-CC president, the size of the student body increased dramatically, as did the number of programs and degree offerings. The regional university has earned a reputation as being one of the best in Texas and the nation.

Professional Experience:

  • Executive Director, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, TAMU-CC, 2005-2008
  • President, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, 1990-2004
  • Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research, Dean of Engineering, and Chairman of the Chemical Engineering Department, University of Idaho B.F. Goodrich Chemical Co.
  • Consultant, Martin-Marietta Corp. and Phillips Petroleum
  • National Science Foundation Program participant, Escuela Politecnica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador, 1974-1975

Positions Held:

  • President of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Board of Directors
  • Engineering Accreditation Commission Chairman
  • Chairman of American Institute for Chemical Engineer's (AIChE) Education and Accreditation Committee
  • Chairman of AIChE Department Heads Forum
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Texas International Education Consortium
  • State President of Idaho Society of Professional Engineers
  • Idaho Energy Policy Board member
  • Advisory Committee member to the Northwest Power Policy Council
  • Chair of the Nebraska Energy Management Committee
  • Chair of the Nebraska Citizens Advisory Committee for the Siting of a Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility
  • Fellow of AIChE and ABET, a Centennial Medalist of American Society of Engineering Education
  • Member of the Explorers Club
  • Member of Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, Phi Eta Sigma

Awards and Recognitions:

  • The National Conference for Community and Justice 2003 Humanitarian Award
  • 2001 King Alonzo XLVIII of Buccaneer's Pageant
  • Corpus Christi Caller Times 2000 Newsmaker of the Decade
  • United Married Couples, 2000
  • Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce Henry Baldwin Award, 2000
  • Founder's Meritorious Achievement Award, National Archives & Historical Foundation of the American GI Forum, 2000
  • Corpus Christi Caller Times 1998 Newsmaker of the Year
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Grinter Award, 1996
  • Idaho's Young Engineer of the Year
  • Public Service Award, Idaho State Library Association
  • Outstanding Teacher Award, University of Idaho
  • African Peoples Union Service Award, University of Nebraska
  • Alumni Hall of Fame, University of Idaho


  • B.S. (Ch.E) and M.S. degrees, University of Idaho
  • Ph.D., Northwestern University
  • Additional work, University of Wisconsin
  • Honorary Doctorate of Administrative Science degree, University of Idaho, 2006